After being considered a lock to make the playoffs at the start of September, the Red Sox suffered one of the worst collapses in baseball history.2011
SEPT. 1: Red Sox, with a .615 winning percentage (83-52), begin the day leading the Yankees by 1 1/2 games in the AL East.
SEPT. 2: Red Sox drop out of first place for good, but lead Tampa Bay by nine games in the race for the AL wild card.
SEPT. 4: They fall to Texas, beginning a tailspin in which they will lose 18 of their last 24 games.
SEPT. 28: Red Sox lead Orioles, 3-2, with two outs and no one on in the bottom of the ninth of the final game of the season. Closer Jonathan Papelbon blows the save while Tampa Bay beats the Yankees on a dramatic 11th-inning home run by Evan Longoria to win the wild-card spot.
AFTER THE SEASON . . .
The Boston Globe reported, among other things, that during some games, pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey drank beer, ate fried chicken and played video games in the clubhouse, manager Terry Francona was distracted by marital problems and the abuse of painkillers and fan-favorite third baseman Kevin Youkilis was a difficult teammate.
Francona's option for 2012 was not renewed.
OCT. 25: Ben Cherington named GM.
DEC. 2: Bobby Valentine named manager.
SPRING TRAINING: As long-term injuries (Carl Crawford, Andrew Bailey) pile up, tensions begin to mount between Valentine and veteran players.
OPENING WEEK: Tigers sweep opening series.
APRIL 15: Valentine was asked about slumping Kevin Youkilis and said: "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason." Dustin Pedroia responds by ripping his manager: "That's not the way we go about our stuff around here, I'm sure he'll figure that out soon."
APRIL 20-21: Red Sox celebrate Fenway Park's 100th birthday with a 6-2 loss to the Yankees. The next day, Valentine comments that the team has hit "rock bottom" after blowing a nine-run lead in a 15-9 loss to the Yankees.
APRIL 25: Valentine admits that he didn't know Twins pitcher Liam Hendriks was a righty and sets up a lineup stacked against a lefty, which is corrected after Jarrod Saltalamacchia alerts him.
MAY 4: A Boston Globe investigation claims Fenway Park's "sellout streak" might be a "distribution streak" in which not every seat is sold.
MAY 10: After being shelled by the Indians, Josh Beckett refuses to apologize for golfing while injured, saying "we only get 18 off days a year."
MAY 22: David Ortiz delivers a profanity-filled rant after being asked about a players-only meeting he had called a week earlier.
MAY 23: Valentine reveals to media that while Saltalamachhia was on a hot streak, backup catcher Kelly Shoppach complained about his playing time.
JUNE 17: ESPN's Buster Olney reports that the Red Sox have a "toxic clubhouse."
JUNE 21: Reports surface that several players have openly challenged Valentine. Ortiz uses an expletive to describe Boston and says he's not having fun."
JUNE 24: Youkilis is traded to the Chicago White Sox.
JULY 30: Ryan Sweeney punches a door and suffers a broken hand.
AUG. 6: Cherington and owner John Henry issue vote of confidence for Valentine.
AUG. 10: Another firestorm erupts after reports that injured Lackey was "double-fisting" beers in the clubhouse.
AUG. 14: Yahoo! reports that players blasted Valentine in a meeting with owners. Among the grievances was the manager allowing Jon Lester to get roughed up for 11 runs in a 15-7 loss to Toronto on July 22.